50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901-2298
Please be sure to consult your local U.S. Consulate/Embassy for specific application instructions.
In general, however, all applicants for a student visa must provide the documents below to the consular officer:
Applicants with dependents must also provide:
In addition to those documents, we advise that all applicants be prepared to provide the following:
Keep in mind that June, July, and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and that it may be difficult to secure interview appointments during that time.
It is important to plan ahead to avoid repeated visits to the embassy: you need to receive the visa in a timely manner so that you may be able to attend the International Student Orientation. Please visit the U.S. Department of State website to view visa processing times at various U.S. consulates and embassies.
Occasionally students have been denied visas due to the consular officer not being sufficiently convinced of the student's intentions to return to his or her native country after completing their studies.
The common reason for a visa denial is on the basis of Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that states: "Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a non-immigrant status..."
This essentially means that the student must prove beyond doubt "permanent residence" or "strong ties" to his/her home country. Fortunately, a visa denial is not permanent and can be reversed, if the student can show new, irrefutable evidence.
Here are some tips for demonstrating students’ strong ties to their home country:
In addition to providing the right documents and having the right reasons, making a positive impression on the consular officer is critical in the application process.
Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA–Association of International Educators:
In the event that you are denied a student visa, it is important not to get upset or argue with the consular officer. Most often, students who were denied will be given a letter explaining why the request has been denied.
Students should politely ask the officer how they could improve their chances the next time and what additional documentation they should provide to reverse the denial. They should thank the officer and take down their name for future reference. Students should conduct a thorough re-evaluation of their case and contact us at the Global Education Office for assistance.
NOTE: When students successfully receive their student visa, the consular officer will seal their immigration documents in an envelope and attach it to their passport. Students should not open this envelope. The officer at the U.S. port of entry will open it.